Retire and Escape to Portugal

Is it me or did the merry-go-round called life just hit warp speed? If you’re reading this from a tiny town in Portugal, wipe the smirk off your face. (I met an acquaintance last week salvaging his heath and retirement by moving to Portugal.) 

In fact, last month I met 3 separate families moving countries who said that office politics pushed them over the edge and into early retirement. People at the pinnacle of their wisdom. 😳 

As I heard their stories I got angry. Great companies losing great people?! Senseless and… avoidable.

Avoidable Loss

Aren’t we navigating enough loss in the world?

Look, I’ve been a pioneer plugging touchy feely, let’s-all-get-along work for close to 20 years now and I can tell you it’s been a tough slog. I’m still met with a TON of resistance and a lot of “not now”, “we’re fine” and “not in the budget”. 

So let’s look at one scary, historical example of avoidable loss. 

If you’re not motivated by reward, perhaps consequence will work. 😬

Mosquito in the Tent

Yahoo! is a cringey case study of what happened when small conflict was left to fester and resulted in big disaster. 

When internal power struggles and poor communication between executives and employees created an unstable work environment that eventually led to the company’s demise. 

Don’t be a Yahoo!

The story goes that Yahoo’s CEO at the time, greatly contributed to the instability. 

Known for micromanagement, including personally reviewing every new recruit and even getting involved in minor details like the design of the new Yahoo logo. 

Let’s not criticize but stay curious. Was she aware? Or was this behaviour and it’s impact in her blindspot? 

This approach led to a decline in employee morale and trust in leadership, as evidenced by poor employee engagement survey results. The rigid management strategies and lack of empowerment for employees further exacerbated the company’s decline, leading to a significant exodus of talent.  

During the chaos, there were massive data breaches that affected over a billion user accounts. This incident not only tarnished Yahoo’s reputation but also created significant legal and financial liabilities. 

Think about what it might have been like to work there.

The Cost of Conflict

The fragmentation prevented Yahoo! from effectively competing with rivals like Google and Facebook, leading to its eventual sale to Verizon in 2017. Reportedly, Yahoo’s sale price was reduced by $350 million. 

I could just about retire in British Columbia for that sum.

What’s Your Culture Signalling?

Instead of avoiding or minimizing uncomfortable office strife, get curious about it. 

The turbulence contains wisdom, your ecosystem is signalling. Instead of hooking into the drama, pull your lens back and observe. 

Consider that there is no shame in having strife or turbulence. In fact, we might check for pulses if the opposite were true. Stagnation is a silent killer.

Ask: What is the energy signalling? How do we use it for good?

Instead of falling into conflict, learn to harness it’s creative force.

Collective Wisdom Makes the Impossible Possible

I want to live long enough to see our world harness its collective wisdom. People working together in powerful ways on things that matter. 

Like working from Portugal AND solving matters of food security, clean water, peace, and environmental degradation to name just a few.

I’m sure you do too.

And since I practice what I preach, I paid attention to my own signals and harnessed my anger.  I got back in touch with the passion I once had, a get-out-of-my-way, unstoppable energy and commitment to teach people how to stand together in conflict, to transform it and put it to good use. 

If you thought I was too touchy feely, you’ll be sorry 😉 I’ve recently brought more structure and ooomph to the work I’m doing with execs, orgs and businesses. 

I’ve introduced tangible, useable tools and frameworks that can immediately be put into action to identify and address internal dynamics and even make it past the most sensitive of touchy feely detectors. See the irony in that?

Now it’s your turn. 

Bring me your symptoms, let’s discover what your culture is signalling.